The Alliance For South Asian AIDS Prevention (ASAP) has released a statement in response to this year’s Fashion Cares theme Bollywood Cowboy.

“The marketing materials used in this campaign came under considerable speculation by members of the South Asian and other community groups,” states a letter accompanying the statement, claiming that the AIDS Committee Of Toronto (ACT) has agreed to pull the ad featuring a model posed as the Hindu goddess Kali. “Hindus and non-Hindus alike have been outraged by such flagrant use of religious imagery,” reads the statement.

The letter also calls for a public apology from ACT and “an appropriate plan of action that will ensure that other ethno-racial communities are not targeted/misused again at ACT.”

According to the statement, other concerns with the campaign include the lack of consultation with Toronto’s South Asian community, the absence of South Asian fashion designers at the event, that the use of Bollywood as a portal to Indian culture will encourage stereotyping and the colonial connotations of the Bollywood Cowboy theme.

Xtra received ASAP’s statement on press day; ACT wasn’t able to respond by press time.

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